Columbia County business owner charged with tax crimes


Date: June 16, 2021


Christa Johnson of Cambria, Wisconsin, is charged in a 17-count indictment with failing to pay payroll and other taxes associated with a business owned by her and with corruptly endeavoring to impede the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The indictment alleges that from July 2015 to January 2017, Johnson was the owner of Johnson Sausage Shoppe, Inc. (JSS), a meat processing plant, grocery store, and catering business in Rio, Wisconsin, and failed to pay over to the IRS federal income taxes, social security taxes, and Medicare taxes withheld from the wages of JSS employees. The indictment also charges that during this same time period, Johnson failed to pay to the IRS all of the employer's share of Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes due on behalf of JSS. The indictment further alleges that Johnson failed to pay to the IRS federal unemployment taxes in 2015 and 2016. Overall, the indictment alleges that Johnson failed to pay $155,936 in taxes owed.

The last count of the indictment charges Johnson with corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the IRS in their collection efforts to obtain payment of the unpaid taxes and their investigation into Johnson's failure to pay the taxes. The indictment alleges that she intentionally withheld corporate records requested by a grand jury subpoena issued to JSS and that she created a false narrative about other individuals she claimed were responsible for the failure to pay the taxes.

If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison on each of the seven counts of failing to pay payroll taxes, 1 year for each of the nine counts of failing to pay the employer's share of FICA taxes and failing to pay unemployment taxes, and 3 years on the charge of corruptly endeavoring to impede the IRS.

The charges against Johnson are the result of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber is handling the prosecution.